I am not a photographer, but I do use the final images on my clients’ marketing projects, so I’d like to offer a few tips to get a great library of multi-purpose photos.
If you are a public figure, speaker, business owner, online dater, or social media influencer, you need to first focus on your most important asset, the headshot.
Be sure to book a professional photoshoot. I have seen some crazy photos try to pass as headshots…from selfies, to cropped photos no longer including exes, vacation shots, and some from amateurs with terrible lighting, awkward poses and low resolution. This isn’t Facebook, this is your career, so let’s do this right!
If you can afford it, use a photographer with an assistant. This person will hold the screens to ensure the lighting is awesome. They will notice stray hairs floating around your face. They will powder the glow from oils on your face. And they will keep an eye on what you’re wearing so it blends nicely with your background and skin tones. Not all colors photograph well.
Get a collection of shots. Start in a very pristine, professional outfit. Then introduce something more casual. Maybe even venture into something kinda hip or racy! Have fun with these, and try different angles with your face. Laugh, be serious, be bewildered, be completely blown away.
Try to get some shots on a neutral, lightly colored background so your designer can easily place you on new backgrounds. If your photo is being included in a group of headshots, sometimes they will cut out all the backgrounds so the photos are coordinated. You’ll need something that is easy to cut out so there are no hair helmets, reflections/shadows or other things that alter the tones in the photo.
Full Body Shots
Be sure to get some pictures designed in wide, horizontal backgrounds, which can make great hero images on web pages. It’s ok if you’re off to one side of the frame.
Avoid clothing and environments where you can “read” things, which might get flipped backwards or inside out when the photo is cropped and manipulated. This can be things like t-shirts, clocks, books, computer screens. That adds another step to photo manipulation if they have to be reversed back, or sometimes prevent an image from being used at all.
Ask your photographer not to get artsy with the cropping of your body. If he/she cuts your arm off on one side, there isn’t much your designer can do with that photo except to use it exactly as it is provided. So be sure all of your body parts remain in some of the photos so they can be cropped best for the space.
As with the headshot, get some shots on a neutral background so you can be easily placed in other environments and backgrounds.
Avoid black. Avoid large distracting patterns on clothing. Avoid colors that clash with your background (don’t wear pink to the pumpkin farm!). Showcase a variety of styles: professional business suit, business casual, dressy, and perhaps something that demonstrates you have a personal life…hiking, yoga, kitchen apron, whatever it is that makes you a little more you!
What’s Your Style?
Be sure to look at other headshots and photography to get ideas on what your photographic style is. Do you like super contrasty images? Or bright, vivid colors? Or perhaps soft lighting and muted lines. Or maybe less saturated color. Once you choose something that fits, you can share this with your photographer to be used in the final editing stage.
Location, Location, Location
If you have a storefront or home studio that you work from, try to get photos in those locations. It’s nice to feature your work space if you have a physical presence with clients. If you are solely an online business, perhaps get a photo of you on the computer monitor. If you work in a larger city and offer parking, that’s not a bad thing to show off as well.
If your work is with other people, include shots like teaching yoga, adjusting a yoga posture, working with a group of kids, leading a retreat, demonstrating a cooking class, doing a table massage, providing acupuncture or reading a pulse.
Get Shots of You Being You
It’s always nice to have extra shots for social media, newsletters and other communications that call for something a little more fun and extraordinary than a basic headshot. You booked the photographer, so pay for an extra hour and have some fun. Get different expressions, tell different stories. This is something you may want to map out before you go in for your shoot. Consider some of these:
– amazement over some news you just received
– excited about reaching a big goal or an accomplishment
– worried about which decision to make
– disheveled, busy, stressed from a crazy day
– chill, relaxed, finding your inner guru
– having fun doing what you love, hobbies
– relationships with your pets, kiddos, partner or spouse
– diversity: you can wear many hats. You are everything from the janitor to the CEO of your business.
– bring additional people if they are willing: your yoga students, your massage clients, your acupuncture patients, your non-profit benefactors, workshop attendees
– anything else that brings you to life in a variety of scenarios
I hope this helps you plan a wonderful photoshoot with images you can use for years. Not that I recommend letting your image library get stagnant, it is nice to have some classics.
Your photo-using friend,